Updated: January 29, 2017
JONATHAN HARRIS PHOTO GALLERY #06
As Doctor Zachary Smith in Lost in Space:
Harris as Dr. Zachary Smith Harris beat out two other actors for the role of
conniving, cowardly agent Dr. Zachary Smith on Lost In Space for CBS. The
character did not appear in the original 1965 pilot episode (nor did The Robot).
The series was already in production when he joined the cast and the
starring/co-starring billings had already been contractually assigned, so Harris
received a "Special Guest Star" credit on every episode.
A strong bond developed between Harris, Mumy, and some of the rest of the cast
during the show's three-year tenure. From its debut, it was an immediate hit,
even though midway through the first season, it had competition from another
newcomer, Batman, which dominated the ratings. The show continued the tradition
of such successful 1960s sci-fi series such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
Midway through the first season, due to Harris' popularity on the show, he began
to rewrite the dialogue. Allen approved his changes and gave him carte blanche
to become a writer. Harris stole the show, mainly via a list of alliterative
insults that soon worked their way into popular speech. When the show was
renewed for its third and final season, it remained focused on Harris's
character, Dr. Smith. While the series was still a big hit, the writers appeared
to run out of fresh ideas, and the show was unexpectedly canceled in 1968, after
One of Harris's co-stars, Mark Goddard, said of the show's eventual shift toward
Harris's character, "I guess it was because they felt that the people wanted to
see more of the Robot and Jonathan. Originally, when it was more science
fiction, Irwin can really do those things so beautifully. So he really took
those away from himself when he wanted to deal with the Robot and Jonathan
playing games, cooking souffles, or whatever else," Goddard also added if he had
gotten along real well with other castmates, other than Harris & Mumy, "No.
There was a lot of tension on the set for the three years it was filmed. There
was always a lot of tension, because the shows started going more toward the
Robot and Smith. There were hard feelings from especially Guy and June, and also
myself, but not as heavy as them, because they were originally sold as being the
stars of the show when it began. It ended up that Harris became the star of the
show," the last thing that he said, "I was friendly with everyone, pretty much.
I think there was a period for a couple of months when I was angry at Jonathan
Harris, for the same reasons, feeling that he was getting too many shows thrown
his way. But we talk today. I see him, and there's no animosity between us. But
I also had my disagreements with Guy Williams. When they started taking shows
away from Guy, giving more to Jonathan, then Guy would come in and demand
whatever I had in the show: any confrontations with Smith, or to save the kid,
or anything. He'd end up doing all of that and I was the one that got squeezed
out; I was doing almost nothing. There was one time where I went in to do a bit
and had learned my lines, and was all ready to do my scene, when Guy started
reading my lines. I said 'What's going on?' and he said 'This is my scene now.'
They had given the lines to him. And that's where I got angry and walked off."
After the show went off the air, Goddard had graduated from the being a series'
co-star to the more professional actor of stage, who in turn, also went back to
his native Massachusetts, in becoming a certified Special Education teacher.
When on hiatus, he realized that on June 14, 1995, Goddard was also reunited
with the entire surviving Lost in Space cast to pay tribute to Irwin Allen who
died late in 1991. He even appeared with the cast of Lost in Space on the front
cover of TV Guide to promote the new movie, at the same time the Sci Fi Channel
would feature a Lost in Space marathon. In the actual 1965 television premiere
of "Lost in Space", the blast off of the Jupiter-2 is set in the future on
October 16, 1997. The Sci-Fi Channel began the "Lost in Space" marathon in
real-time 32 years later on October 16, 1997, all this took place, after Sam's
death in 1977, at the time the relationship between Harris & Goddard drew much
closer. He continued to stay in touch with Harris until his friend's death, late
Bill Mumy said about Harris' guest role that in his first episode, "It was
actually implied that this villainous character that sabotaged the mission and
ended up with us, was going to be killed off after a while." Mumy added,
"Jonathan played him as written, which was this really dark, straight-ahead
villain, who was trying to murder women and children." Mumy also said of
Harris's work on Space, "And we'd start working on a scene together, and he'd
have a line, and then in the script I'd have my reply, and he'd say, 'No, no,
no, dear boy. No, no, no. Before you say that, The Robot will say this, this,
this, this, this, this, and this, and then, you'll deliver your line.'" Bill
also said of Harris' portrayal, "He truly, truly singlehandledly created the
character of Dr. Zachary Smith that we know --- this man, we love-to-hate,
coward who would cower behind the little boy, 'Oh, the pain! Save me, William!'
That's all him!" About the show's cancellation, Mumy said, "I don't know what
happened. All I know is that we were all told we're coming back. Then, you know
we got a call that we weren't." The death of Harris' father in 1977 drew Harris
and Mumy closer. The two kept in touch for almost 35 years until Harris' death.
On June 14, 1995, Mumy & the rest of the crew paid tribute to series' creator
Irwin, who died late in 1991. In 1996, Mumy was reunited with Harris alongside
Leonard Nimoy (of Star Trek fame), at a Disney World convention. It was also
reported in 1997 that Mumy, Harris and the rest of the surviving cast appeared
on the inside cover of TV Guide to promote the new movie, while the Sci-Fi
Channel would feature a Lost in Space marathon. In the actual 1965 television
premiere of "Lost in Space", the blast off of the Jupiter-2 is set in the future
on October 16, 1997. The Sci-Fi Channel began the "Lost in Space" marathon in
real-time 32 years later on October 16, 1997.